Art Quench Presents; Don Mitchell
Art Quench meets Don Mitchell, an extraordinary artist whose work takes us into a wonderland. Don’s creative mind has lead him to create some of the greatest monumental sculptures today. In our conversation Don is humble and gives a calmness and purity to all that is spoken. His extrasensory perception we believe is key to his enigmatic and wonderful art. We have made a new friend and now we would like to share with you some of his amazing work.
In 1985 Don Mitchell set up an interview with Arne Hansen the owner of Arnesen Fine
Art Gallery in Vail, CO. The interview was very productive and immediately led to Don’s
acceptance into that gallery. Now, Don is a widely collected artist and has works throughout the
United States as well as many foreign countries, including Mexico, England, Germany, France,
Canada and Belgium. His unique aluminum sculptures ignite your imagination in a most positive
way, often leaving you with both a smile and a creative boost for your day.
Arne Hansen, noted art historian and museum curator, who recognized Don’s creative
talent, said of Mitchell’s work: “Don Mitchell, a nationally collected Colorado sculptor is an
interesting study in contrasts. His somewhat surreal, colorful sculptures are reminiscent, but not
derivative, of the works of Miro, Calder, and Dubuffet. But the humor and odd juxtapositions of
elements in Mitchell’s work makes it child-like and extremely sophisticated. This mixture of
qualities attracts both very young viewers and major collectors of American art”. To date Don
has sold over 1300 sculptures.
Don was raised in the small rural town of Rochester, Mich. He attended both Ferris State
College and Oakland University, majoring in biology and philosophy. He then completed a fouryear
apprenticeship in metal fabrication in the experimental engineering group of General Motors
Truck and Coach Division. Upon graduation from that program, Don transferred to the
Experimental Stress group where he was a project engineer. Don’s early career was centered
around the creation, engineering, manufacturing and management of products, with companies
like General Motors, Samsonite and Lear Siegler. In retrospect, it seems very clear that all of
Don’s education and career activities have been a preparation and foundation for his art and
Since completion of his first public monumental sculpture in 1990, commercial and public
commissions have become an important and growing aspect of Don’s work. Forty-two public
sculptures have been completed since 1999, with sizes ranging to 242 inches in height. Largescale
wall sculptures which depict in a positive colorful way a product line or process, people
interacting, or a fun story is another growing area. Monumental outdoor sculptures, some as high
as twenty feet have been placed in Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa and most recently in
Provo, Utah. The Provo commission, completed in 2012, was for the Utah Transit Authority and
the City of Provo. Two large sculptures are sited on the Fast Track Light Rail Platform in Provo.
In addition to the public sculptures, Don had a retrospective in 2008 at the Littleton Art and History
Museum with over 1700 people attending. In 2011 Don was asked to participate in the SRAM
pART Project for World Bicycle Relief. For this project Don created a special sculpture which was
shown in Las Vegas and Chicago, and then auctioned, with the proceeds going to World Bicycle
Relief. In 2012 another special project was completed for MCM products USA Inc. Don’s piece
is now being shown in Hong Kong. In 2013 Don was a featured artist on RMPBS Arts District TV
Program. Since 1991 most of the nation’s top museum stores have or do carry small Mitchell
sculptures, including the Smithsonian and LA County.
“I think creativity is a gift that we are all given. Some of us, however, are allowed to grow and expand this gift and to create things called art. For myself, this creative gift never lets up, and I have always had this need, this inner urge to make things, mostly furniture or sculpture.”